November 24, 2010

Steve Solloway: The night Buster Douglas shocked the world

(Continued from page 1)

Buster Douglas was known for not being as aggressive in the ring as he should have been. But for one night in Tokyo, 20 years ago, everything came together. Perfectly.

Contributed photo

James Douglas was a pretty fair basketball player in high school and junior college, but followed his father into the ring.

But while his father's reputation was built on intensity and explosiveness in the ring, Douglas was known for his laid-back personality. Until that night in Tokyo when he fought for his mother and her dreams for him.

Most of all he fought for himself.

Tyson knocked Douglas down in the eighth with an uppercut and some expected the fight to end there. Another Tyson victim. Instead, Douglas refocused.

It is said that most champions have one, maybe two extraordinary performances in them. This was Douglas' time. It became the moment that stamped him onto the pages of sports history.

Today his diabetes is under control. He's co-authored Buster's Backyard Bar-b-q: Knockout Diabetes Diet.

In 2002 he played an FBI agent in "Pluto's Plight," a science fiction comedy about aliens wanting to make Earth their home but crash-landing on Pluto. No, that one wasn't a hit.

He's partners with a developer with plans to convert a four-acre parcel in Columbus into townhouses and retail. The economy has stalled that.

He has an adult son, another in college and another in high school.

He lives for Ohio State football and has to mention he met the late Woody Hayes, the Buckeyes' legendary coach. Douglas didn't meet LeBron James before James skipped the state to play in Miami.

"But I played golf with Leroy Kelly (the former Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame running back). "Man, that was something."

I ask Douglas if he enjoys western movies. Very much, he said. Had he watched "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" with James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin, released in 1962? No, he hadn't.

Too bad. There's an analogy, if not entirely apt. In the movie, Stewart got the credit for killing the cruel outlaw but it was John Wayne, standing in the shadows, whose bullet did the job.

No one stood in the shadows of the ring that night in Tokyo. James "Buster" Douglas was The Man Who Knocked Out Mike Tyson. Holyfield would also beat Tyson, but Douglas did it first.

"I feel blessed by the people remembering and wanting to shake my hand or get their picture taken with me," said Douglas.

"I like reaping the benefits. This makes the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile. This is the most enjoyable time of my life."


Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:


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